D35 Dona Bertarelli's Ladycat changes look and team

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Dona Bertarelli’s Decision 35 catamaran, Ladycat (SUI10) is changing her look and her crew for the 2012 Lake Léman Vulcain Trophy multihull competition season. The catamaran has moved from hot pink to other original colours: black, bronze and green, with a strong graphic design that reflects the new mixed gender crew. This season, Ladycat will have on board Dona Bertarelli as skipper/helmswoman, Emmanuelle Rol as trimmer, as well as multihull specialists Yann Guichard, tactician; Billy Besson and Arnaud Jarlegan, trimmers; and Devan Le Bihan, N°1. Nicolas Débordès, preparer, will ensure all technical support.

“I am looking forward to this season enthusiastically. It is like a new beginning, with a new team and a craft which has completely changed its look. The new design expresses a wish to go still further, a maturity acquired over the past few years.” explains Dona Bertarelli. As for the name, “there is no reason to change it. Ladycat is a project of mine and reflects both who I am and the values I seek to transmit.  For five years, more than twenty women sailors were able to fulfil their passion and, for some, even become professional sailors. That approach is still valid even if the project has moved to a mixed gender crew, more by obligation than by design.”

Ladycat and mavietonsang, the Vaud Regional Blood Transfusion Service, based in Epalinges (VD), are pursuing their partnership, which aims to create awareness of the service and recruit new blood donors. Blood donation, which saves lives, is a gesture which is freely consented without constraint, free of charge, and only takes a half hour.

Ladycat’s co-sponsors, for the seventh consecutive year, are Audemars Piguet and the Grand Hotel Park in Gstaad. Haute Horlogerie brand Audemars Piguet has been actively involved in the sailing world for many years, and is developing a new Ladycat watch which will be launched in 2013. Castello Colle Massari, Country Club Geneva, Two Degrees, and Kaenon are all official suppliers of Ladycat.

Businesswoman and accomplished sportswoman, Dona Bertarelli cut her teeth in competitive sailing on Lake Léman. In April 2007, she launched her Decision 35 catamaran, Ladycat (SUI10). This all-women crew competed in the Vulcain Trophy, one of the most competitive circuits in the world with single-design multihulls. In 2010, Dona won the prestigious Bol d'Or Mirabaud. A historic victory as she became the first woman skipper to win this race after 72 editions. Through her boat, Dona supports the campaign of the Vaud transfusion service “Ma vie ton sang”, to promote blood donation. The attractiveness of the craft, according to Dona, lies in the outstanding performance of the catamaran on the waters of Lake Léman. The latter is a complex playground where both technique and tactics need to be mastered. Thus, Dona once again skips Ladycat, the only catamaran on the circuit with a woman at her helm.

Yann Guichard has a strong sailing experience and more particularly on multihulls. Trained for top level Olympic sailing, synonymous with discipline, rigor and organization, he gave concrete expression to his aspirations thanks to his determination. His passion for multihulls led him to undertake several large-scale sailing projects. Talented and versatile, he has collected records and victories on various circuits, in oceanic as well as in inshore races. A fine helmsman, in 2011 Yann was asked by the French America’s Cup challenger, Energy Team, to share the helm of the AC45 with Loïck Peyron for the America’s Cup World Series. Since September 2011, he has been running a brand new international multihull sailing team, under the aegis of Spindrift racing. His flag ship is the trimaran MOD70 N°05, which is taking part in the Multi One Championship. Skipper, helmsman, router - Yann holds each of these roles with verve. He joined the crew of Ladycat in 2011 first as trimmer and then as tactician, a position he once again holds for the 2012 season.

Arnaud Jarlegan is a specialist in dinghy sailing. French Hobie Cat 16 champion in 1996, he distinguished himself on F18 catamaran: twice bronze medalist at the World Championships in 2001 and in 2008. He became French champion of this sport in 2009 and won the title of World Champion alongside Olivier Backès in 2010. And as good things come in threes, Arnaud joined the crew of the Decision 35 catamaran Banque Populaire as trimmer. With his teammates, he won the Challenge Julius Baer 2010. He has two Olympic Tornado preparations to his credit (2004 and 2008 with Billy Besson). A real expert in sport catamarans, Arnaud is taking up the position of trimmer on Ladycat, a position he already occupies within Energy Team, the French AC45 of the America’s Cup World Series.

Dynamic, intuitive with a real team spirit, Billy has a great knowledge of multihulls that he acquired on the benches of several Olympic preparations and during numerous offshore races (e.g. on board the Hydroptere, Idec, Gitana, Banque Populaire V…). Eight years in the French military team, added to his participation to the Olympic Games for the French sailing team, in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008), gave him discipline and rigor. In 2008, Billy was crowned Vice-European Champion in Tornado alongside Arnaud Jarlegan. In 2009 and 2011, he excelled on Lake Geneva on M2 Safram, winning several races. In 2011, he joined the Spindrift racing crew as helmsman and trimmer. Immersed almost from day one in the world of multihulls, Billy will share his accomplished trimmer’s skills aboard Ladycat. 

Emmanuelle Rol started sailing at the age of eight. She represented Switzerland during the Beijing Olympics in the 470 category. In 2009, she set herself a new challenge and joined the Marseille Nautical Club in the hope, with her new 470 partner, Hélène Defrance, of representing France during the 2012 London Olympic Games, as Emmanuelle is also a French national. In April 2010, she won her first gold medal at the 2010 SOF (Hyeres Olympic week), confirming her bronze medal from Palma de Mallorca and her excellent results at Medemblick and Miami. In 2010, she won the Bold D’Or Mirabaud alongside Dona Bertarelli. Named “Sailor rookie of the year” in 2004, she joined the Ladycat team in 2008 and starts this new season as trimmer.

From a very young age, Devan Le Bihan distinguished himself on Optimist. After an apprenticeship on 420 and then on Laser, he honed his offshore racing skills on the Farr 30 “Ile de France” and won the 2006 Tour de France à la Voile. In 2009, he cut his teeth on the demanding World Match Racing Tour. Franck Cammas contacted him to participate in the Extreme Sailing Series aboard Groupama 40 as bowman. In 2011, he returned to the World Match Racing Tour, alongside Damien Lehl, and shone during the first stage of the season in Marseille. That very same year, he joined the Energy Team as trimmer. As a professional round-the-cans racer, Devan holds the position of N°1 on Ladycat for the Vulcain Trophy 2012.


An avid amateur of raid sports such as catamaran and windsurfing, Nicolas Débordès was trained from a young age in the Sailing center of Audierne Bay in Western Brittany. After gaining professional qualifications in the preparation of boats, he quickly entered into the thick of the action and moved onto multihulls. A technician for two years with Gitana XI fitting hydraulic and deckgear, he then completed two seasons as a preparer for two Figaros. Nicolas integrated Spindrift racing in 2011 and now provides technical expertise to the Ladycat team. Quiet, meticulous and very attracted to the sea, the great outdoors and an adrenaline addict, Nicolas is fully involved in what he does and appreciates the diversity of his business.

See Vulcain Trophy D35 images


Danièle Castle

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 April 2012 )